Saturday, June 03, 2006

Welcome to Shanghai!

After about 20 hours travel time I arrived at my destination: Shanghai, China. This has to be the most different place I have ever visited, much more extreme in the senses than the recent Australia/new Zealand time. right now I’m looking out the window in my 300 sq. ft. one bedroom apartment across the city. skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. going to work today…skyscrapers skyscrapers skyscrapers. I heard a statement once I attributed to urban legend that says 25% of all construction cranes in the world reside in shanghai. now, I’m sure its mistaken. the number must be higher. this place compares to nothing I’ve seen ever. not Tokyo, not Sydney, not Bangkok. below me are a set of 3 story residences. small places, probably about the same size as my apmt, and I am unsure how many people per household. I’m staying in an area called the French concession, an area of contradiction of massive construction projects resulting in 50 storey skyscrapers and the yet the tiny rowhouses as I look down on the streets below constructed in the 1920s.

So much contradiction. Roads with cars, but they have far more bikes and mopeds on the streets. At night, the lights come on, flashing everywhere. I just don’t know what to make of the chaos. The driving patterns…there are no apparent patterns, just cars and people and bikes and mopeds all coming together managing in most cases to avoid each other in the intersections.

As far as pollution, this is my 4th night here, I haven’t seen the sun or the sky yet, its as if somebody has put a fog dome up that runs 24 hours a day. Just can’t see anything up there. Not clouds, just white/gray color all the time.

Someone asked me how it was….i said I feel like I’m living in the set of Bladerunner. except in this future, somehow Buick has managed to thrive. Somehow, a brand that has nearly died in the US has managed to thrive here in China.

2 comments:

kim said...

Sounds like such an awesome adventure. Blog often! Enjoy!

John Stark said...

Having surfed over here from Kim's blog, I can attest to your observations.

I would reccomend checking out O'Malley's Pub there in the French section (close to the US Consulate), it will be very strange to see so many foreigners, but also potentially comforting and check out "South Beauty" for excellent Sichuan food. Avoid the turtle with date-based sauce it is not as "good" as it sounds, but do try the fish boild-in-oil and brought to the table in an hot-oil pot...yum!

I find it amusing that you have the same Blade Runner feeling that I have every time I go to Shanghai (which I have been doing since 1993/4). You can find one of my posts here.

Have fun!

I have a technical question - how are you getting to blogger? I could not get to any blog sites the last 2 times I was in China...I figured the government was blocking access.